Meat Inspection Act of 1906 Quotes

It makes business sense to have them clean. We want them to be sanitary, and expect them to be sanitary, and will do anything in reason to make them sanitary. The only question is whether it will not lead to complications, to make the Secretary of Agriculture the judge as to what is sanitary. He might be disposed to call in some outside talent…and we most certainly question the qualifications of that talent.

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Thomas Wilson, spokesperson for the meatpacking industry, Testimony, House Agricultural committee.

Here is the Argentine Republic, which is competing with us to-day in the markets of the world with dressed beef and canned products; here is old Mexico, and other countries of South America. These countries have not such restrictions will absolutely capture the trade from this country if we make unreasonable restrictions that keep us out of business in foreign countries.

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Judge Samuel H. Cowan, attorney for the Texas Cattle Raisers Association and the American National Live Stock Association. Testimony, House Committee on Agriculture.

We have no authority until the meat becomes commerce. You see we have a right to control commerce, but not manufacture. I have the belief that it would be better if the Federal Government had general power to enact police powers for the protection of the people against impure and unwholesome foods, if it could stop with that…There is not one single thing in the Federal Constitution that expressly confers upon Congress any police power whatever, and by police power I mean the power to enact laws for the preservation of the public health, the public morals, and the public peace.

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E.D. Crumpacker (R-IN). Testimony, House Committee on Agriculture.

We are opposed to a bill…that will put our business in the hands of theorists, chemists, sociologists, etc., and the management and control taken away from the men who have devoted their lives to the upbuilding and perfecting of this great American industry.

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Thomas Wilson, spokesperson for the meatpacking industry, Testimony, House Agricultural committee.

If you would pass a law which requires unnecessary expense…that expense must to some extent be ultimately borne by the public. Either the consumer or the producer must stand it.

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Judge Samuel H. Cowan, attorney for the Texas Cattle Raisers Association and the American National Live Stock Association. Testimony, House Committee on Agriculture.

The very great objection to that is the possibility of confusion. We have State laws and we have city laws in the matter of constructions, and we have insurance laws that we have got to comply with….the construction of a building that might suit the Secretary of Agriculture would not suit those folks, and what might suit those folks might not suit the Secretary of Agriculture.

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Thomas Wilson, spokesperson for the meatpacking industry, Testimony, House Agricultural committee.

Meat canned five years ago is just as good as meat canned six months ago….Of course [putting the date on a can] benefits nobody if the meat is just as good with age, like whisky is said to be, as it is without.

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Judge Samuel H. Cowan, attorney for the Texas Cattle Raisers Association and the American National Live Stock Association. Testimony, House Committee on Agriculture.
329006/06/1906 | Full Details | Law(s): Meat Inspection Act of 1906

I know those packing houses as well as I know the corridors of the capitol [i.e.: not particularly well, he only served one term in DC]...there is not a kitchen of a rich man in this city, or any other, that is any cleaner, if it is as clean, as those places...Of course, you know the sort of men many of the laborers in the packing houses are—foreigners of a low grade of intelligence...If those men happen to spit, they are likely to spit, but it doesn’t go on the meat.

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Rep. Charles Wharton (R-IL), congressman for Chicago’s meat-packing district.
328405/26/1906 | Full Details | Law(s): Meat Inspection Act of 1906

In Armour & Co.’s business not one atom of any condemned animal or carcass finds its way, directly or indirectly, from any source, into any food product or food ingredient” [italics in original]. Every meat animal and every carcass slaughtered in the Union Stockyards, or in the stock yards at any of the markets of the United States, is carefully inspected by the United States Government.

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J. Ogden Armour, president of Armour, a slaughterhouse and meatpacking company, Saturday Evening Post.
328303/10/1906 | Full Details | Law(s): Meat Inspection Act of 1906